Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Some Bright Ideas for Play with Your Child: With Their Parents Help, Children Can Use Playtime to Develop Self-Esteem, Confidence, Motivation, and Love-And Have Fun along the Way. (Toys)

Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Some Bright Ideas for Play with Your Child: With Their Parents Help, Children Can Use Playtime to Develop Self-Esteem, Confidence, Motivation, and Love-And Have Fun along the Way. (Toys)

Article excerpt

Play makes children feel good about them selves and is the activity by which they learn new skills. Through play, they make discoveries about themselves and their environment; in fact, it is the basis for future learning. In your role as a parent, you can help your child interpret the environment and motivate him or her to play and explore.

The earliest form of play is sensorimotor play. Through this type of play, children use their senses to react physically to the environment. In a child who has any sensory impairment, it is crucial to develop the remaining senses. Though some of these suggestions were developed for children with visual impairment, they can also be useful for children with other special considerations or serve as a springboard for other creative ideas.

MARKET APPEALING

A child with a visual impairment, for example, has the same desire to play as one who is sighted. It is just more difficult to act upon something unseen. An infant who is visually impaired may not have the motivation to grab at a colorful toy. However, a noise-producing toy with a pleasing texture will be more appealing to him. To help him play with it, place your hands over your child's hands and let him feel the toy. Describe how it feels and how it works. Place the toy within the child's reach, give it a shake, and encourage the child to find it. Talk to your child about what he is doing.

UNDERSTAND HOW YOUR CHILD PLAYS

If your child has some sight, it is important to understand how she uses her vision so that you can provide appropriate, meaningful toys and experiences. Does your child attend to toys up close? Is dim light better than bright light? Does she respond to brightly colored objects? Do toys with contrasting colors appeal to her? Does she respond to toys located across the room? Does her visual ability change when she is tired? By understanding what your child can see, you will be better able to choose suitable toys and ways to play.

MAKING ROOM FOR PLAY

Seek out the best place to play in your home. Is it relatively free from distractions such as the telephone and television? Is it large enough to allow you both to move around and change positions? Is there a special area to keep toys? Is the play room safe and comfortable? Is the lighting best for your child's vision? Will your child know you are near when you leave the room? …

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